‘The Green Book’ Uses Celebs, Tips to Appeal to the Public
Green is the new black … or is it the new pink? Either way, green is in. With more and more of corporate America joining the green movement, environmental sustainability continues to gain momentum in society. But the decision to do one’s part to help the environment starts with the individual, which is exactly who one publisher is betting on with its launch of “The Green Book” this month.
“The Green Book,” penned by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, is a collection of more than 400 tips people can incorporate into their everyday lives to make a positive impact on the environment. Most of the tips are really quite practical and are presented in a compelling way. For example, if every person withdrawing money from an ATM did not request a receipt, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long—or enough to circle the equator 15 times.
The publisher—Three Rivers Press, a trade paperback imprint of Random House Inc. subsidiary Crown Publishing Group—is backing up the book’s message with a significant contribution of its own: The book is the imprint’s first whose paper and cover stock are 100-percent recycled. In fact, its acquisition came, in part, says Assistant Editor Mary Choteborsky, as a result of Random House’s commitment in May 2006 to a tenfold increase in the use of recycled paper by 2010. Further, the publisher is donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to The Green Book Foundation in support of environmental causes and nonprofit organizations.
Backed with star power
This isn’t the first book of tips on saving the planet to hit bookstores, but what sets it apart is the star power in its pages. “The Green Book” contains contributions from an impressive number of A-listers, including Jennifer Aniston, Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell, Robert Redford, Martha Stewart and Justin Timberlake. Their participation, Choteborsky acknowledges, makes the book unique.
“[The celebrities’ involvement] really came about through the authors’ hard work,” she says. “They had the connections, they secured the celebrities’ participation. This book has been one of those situations where things come together in a better way than you could have ever hoped. The fact that they have agreed to let us use their names helps us raise awareness about the book in ways we couldn’t otherwise. But the book stands out on its own because of the content,” she says.
Three Rivers Press and Crown have contributed a wealth of resources to the project. “It’s become one of those books where everyone’s working overtime trying to brainstorm and think outside the box to make sure this is as big as we hope it can be,” Choteborsky says. “We see the book’s potential, so everyone from the publisher to the assistant publicist has been excited since day one.”
The book is getting plenty of promotion in advance of its June 19 release with a campaign centered around insightful and practical tips for individuals looking to do their part for the environment. “We believe the next generation of the green movement is going to be about what individuals can do to help maintain the health of the planet. ‘The Green Book’ is the perfect guide to those choices, and our marketing campaign focuses on making the green movement accessible to the average American,” notes Choteborsky. “… That’s why much of the promotion is focused on tip-a-day campaigns that highlight the ease of the solutions and the actionable advice in the book.”
The aggressive publicity and marketing plan includes a tip-a-day e-mail campaign distributed to visitors who opt in via the book’s Web site, ReadTheGreenBook.com. All Crown employees’ outgoing e-mails will also include a signature promoting the book’s release and urging recipients to refrain from printing e-mails—another tip straight from the book.
In addition, Crown has partnered with a number of mainstream Web sites to offer content from the book in the form of tip-a-day features. Dow Jones Online and Seventeen.com are among the partners promoting the book by incorporating these tips into their sites’ offerings. Choteborsky says Crown also has planned “extensive cross-promotion” with a new environmental Web site, Sprig.com—a sister site of MSNBC, Slate.com and The Washington Post.
A signature effort
“The Green Book” features a carefully crafted cover design in which its logo—a white, cursive “g”—is the only element of the cover appearing in a color unique to the rest of the cover.
“The idea is that people will recognize that the logo has something to do with the green movement and pick up the book because of that connection,” Choteborsky says. “When we saw the logo, it was kind of an ‘ah-ha!’ moment, where we realized we could use that logo in our e-mail blasts, signature campaigns and on all of our publicity materials to make it something that’s recognizable even outside the book. We think the logo is something that screams earth, unity [and] green … and we want people to see it and wonder, ‘What is that about?’”
Additionally, Crown hopes to partner with businesses looking to embrace their own environmentally sound initiatives.
“There are so many companies going green right now that we think this is the perfect book for them to support their initiatives by giving the book to their employees and spreading its message,” Choteborsky says.
She adds that the publisher has high hopes for “The Green Book,” and that its initial print run was 100,000 copies. “We want to reach as broad an audience as possible in order to help make a difference and make an impact on this global crisis.”
Matt Steinmetz is the publisher and brand director of Publishing Executive.